The Peace of God

Saturday, May 5, 2012

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6,7 KJV).

Here are two of the best Bible verses regarding prayer!

Recently, a friend and Christian sister was troubled by her circumstances, so I shared today’s Scripture with her. This fallen world is filled with pain and suffering. We are confronted daily with events that wear us out mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. We cry, “Oh, God, deliver me! If you really loved me, you would take it all away!”

Saints, instead of getting discouraged and growing weary, we need to commit to memory and apply today’s Scripture by faith. The Bible says, “Be careful for nothing:” we should not worry in difficult times. Rather, in stressful times, we need to pray “with thanksgiving.” No matter what happens, we need to always thank God for giving us the resources in Christ needed to handle all of life’s matters: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13).

We need to talk to our heavenly Father and share with Him the situation and tell Him how we feel. Yes, God already knows these things, but He wants us to communicate with Him. Just as God speaks to us using His Word (the King James Bible), we speak to God using prayer. During trying times, we should pray in accordance with God’s Word rightly divided: we need to find sound (dispensational) Bible verses that relate to the situation, and then by faith, apply that sound doctrine to the situation.

We rest in the fact that God knows what we are experiencing. He comforts us and strengthens us. How does He strengthen us? “By his Spirit in the inner man” (Ephesians 3:16c). The indwelling Holy Ghost will take His Word (sound Bible doctrine we believe) and He shall keep [our] hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

Once we talk to God about the matter, we have “the peace of God, which passeth all understanding.”

Final Voyage

Sunday, April 15, 2012

“Man is like to vanity: his days are as a shadow that passeth away” (Psalm 144:4 KJV).

On 10 April 1912, a massive British passenger liner left Southhampton, England to embark on its maiden voyage. Its destination was New York. The ship, 882 feet (269 m) long, held over 2,400 passengers and nearly 900 crewmembers. On 14 April, just shortly before midnight, she struck an iceberg. Exactly 100 years ago today, RMS Titanic plunged into the frigid waters of the North Atlantic, taking with her 1,500-plus persons….

Some of the wealthiest people in the world boarded Titanic for her maiden voyage, oblivious to the fact that it would actually be Titanic’s final voyage. Millionaire John Jacob Astor IV, who would be worth nearly US$12 billion today, lost every last cent he had on that cold, April night 100 years ago today. Although he was the richest person aboard Titanic, death took his fortune just as much as it took the poorest victims’.

As the psalmist expressed in today’s Scripture, this earthly life is ever so brief. Life on earth is but a “shadow that passeth away,” “even a vapour that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away” (James 4:14).

One day, short of the rapture, death will steal from us every last material possession we own. Large bank accounts, although nice, are not permanent because economic recessions and depressions can empty them quickly. Although we are expected to have jobs so we can eat and buy goods (2 Thessalonians 3:10; cf. 2 Corinthian 12:14), our priority is not seeing how much worldly possessions and “wealth” we can amass.

Our primary focus is to trust in Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour now, while we still have breath. Then, as Christians, we desire to store up a treasure of sound doctrine in the inner man (studying and believing the Bible dispensationally). Although our “uncertain [material] riches” (1 Timothy 6:17) will eventually vanish, we are spiritually rich in Christ (2 Corinthians 8:9), “blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3).

Praise the Lord—we can never lose our spiritual wealth in Christ!

By the way, our past two devotionals about Judas’ replacement have recently been combined and expanded to form the study “Judas’ Replacement: Matthias or Paul?

Behold, God’s Abounding Longsuffering!

Monday, April 9, 2012

“Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting” (1 Timothy 1:16 KJV).

Imagine seeing the entire universe. Zooming in, we see the Local Group, a massive coalescence of dozens of galaxies. In the Local Group, we find the Milky Way, and in the Milky Way, we find our Solar System, eight bodies and their natural satellites orbiting Sun. One of these eight bodies is Earth. Earth, the “blue and green marble,” appears very peaceful and hospitable. Beware!! The chief occupants are sinners!

Our holy and righteous Creator, Jesus Christ, is currently looking down from heaven, and He sees us humans, some of the most wretched, miserable, and selfish creatures. Mankind’s sin has so complicated His simple and “very good” creation (Genesis 1:31). Earth, viewed from outer space, seems so appealing… until you consider its residents—the wicked human race. We (mankind) have caused God such indescribable grief. Once, God was so “grieved” by man’s sin that He literally sent a global flood to destroy the earth and most of the human race (Genesis 6:5-7).

We may never fully understand it, but God had such pity on us that He came to rescue from our sins. He became a Man, Jesus Christ, to save us from ourselves, to die for our sins. God even knew most of mankind would totally disregard His sacrificial death, but He had such longsuffering, mercy, and grace that He still went to Calvary’s cross to purchase our salvation. God in His abounding grace, mercy, and longsuffering is still tolerating wicked mankind.

The Apostle Paul, before salvation, was anti-God. Saul had God’s people imprisoned and/or put to death; he hated Jesus of Nazareth (Acts 26:9-11; Galatians 1:13,14; Timothy 1:13). And yet, as today’s Scripture teaches, God saved Saul, “shewing forth all longsuffering.” If God could save His chief enemy, Saul, and make him Paul our Apostle, and if He could save us wretched infidels who still enjoy sin, we exclaim, having eternally thankful hearts, “Behold, God’s abounding longsuffering!”

Better is Little with the Fear of the LORD

Friday, March 9, 2012

“Better is little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble therewith” (Proverbs 15:16 KJV).

God’s Word uses the expression “better is little” twice, and both instances are found in the book of Proverbs. One is today’s Scripture; the other is Proverbs 16:8: “Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues without right.” Today’s materialistic world recommends: “Get all that you can in this life because you only live once.” While this appeals to our sinful flesh, it does not agree with God’s Word.

Wealthy people could not be saved during Christ’s earthly ministry because they preferred their wealth/“mammon” (Matthew 6:24; Matthew 13:22; Matthew 19:16-24; Mark 10:17-25; Luke 16:13; Luke 18:18-25). Thus, Jesus warned Israel (Mark 10:24): “Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!” These Jews would have to endure the horrible seven-year Tribulation and they would lose their material possessions therein (cf. Matthew 6:24-34). Consequently, Jesus instructed His followers, “Sell that ye have, and give alms” (Luke 12:31-33; Luke 18:22). God would then deliver them from the Tribulation and usher them into their kingdom of prosperity and peace.

Our Apostle Paul writes to us in our dispensation: “And having food and raiment [clothing] let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows…. Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; (1 Timothy 6:6-10,17).

Being rich is not a sin, but when gaining material wealth and possessions becomes your priority, that is sin. As a Christian, your priority should Jesus Christ (and His Word). “Better is little” with the fear of the LORD” (being a Christian) than owning “uncertain riches” without God.

We Do Not Want to Be Different Anymore!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

“Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah, and said unto him, Behold thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations” (1 Samuel 8:4,5 KJV).

In the context of today’s Scripture, for the past 500 years, Moses, Joshua, and several judges (rulers) have led Israel (Acts 13:17-20). Here, Samuel, Israel’s prophet-judge, is old and his sons are too wicked to lead the nation in God’s ways (1 Samuel 8:1-3). Furthermore, Israel is tired of being different. Sadly, they want a king so they can be like “all the nations.”

Read the two verses following today’s Scripture: “But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the LORD. And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them(verses 6,7). S-A-D!

Israel is tired of being God’s “peculiar” (unique; Exodus 19:5) people! They want to be like everyone else (pagans!). By rejecting God’s prophet Samuel, Israel is rejecting God. God instructed Samuel to “protest solemnly” with Israel (verse 9). So, Samuel fervently complained to Israel regarding the disadvantages of a monarchy (1 Samuel 8:10-18). Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us, that we also may be like all the nations(verses 19,20). Amazingly, God foretold their cry for a king in Deuteronomy 17:14… 500 years earlier!

After everything God did for them, ungrateful, sinful Israel argues with Him and rejects Him. Yet, how many today share Israel’s attitude? Despite everything that God did for them at Calvary, they reject Him. Or, think of the Christians, who are tired of being outcasts—like Israel, some compromise with the world to “fit in.” Thankfully, as God in His grace tolerated Israel, so He tolerates us when “we do not want to be different anymore!”

A Memory and a Reality

Saturday, December 31, 2011

“But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel;” (Philippians 1:12 KJV).

What a prosperous ministry year it has been, beloved! How we thank our heavenly Father for the opportunities we had to teach, verbally and through writing, the precious truths of His Word to family, friends, acquaintances, professors, classmates, and complete strangers. We can only wonder how many souls were edified and saved worldwide.

Interestingly, during the past year, our newspaper ministry, this devotional blog’s “predecessor,” saw its final months. We are grateful to have had opportunity to publish Bible studies in a weekly newspaper column. (A few weeks after that avenue was discontinued in May, this devotional blog was launched. So, had the newspaper column not been cancelled, you would have never even read this blog!)

Despite the great stress, extreme heartache, persecution, and months of severe depression, we rejoice that the Gospel of the Grace of God still went forth for His glory. We agree with our Apostle Paul, who wrote in today’s Scripture that God’s Word will be published, especially during difficult times. In Paul’s case, God allowed Paul to be imprisoned so he could preach the Gospel there (Philippians 1:7,13,14)! Indeed, our suffering was well worth it. 🙂

Saints, how we thank God for “your fellowship in the gospel” (Philippians 1:3-5). We are bound to thank you, whose fervent prayers encouraged us during those painful months. By God’s grace, which has borne us thus far, we will continue to endure and we cannot wait to see what the Lord will do next year! We ask for your continued prayer, for we will face even more satanic opposition in the upcoming year.

As 2011 fades into the recesses of memory, and 2012 becomes a reality, we should keep this sound doctrine in mind: Like the difficulties of this past year, the things which [will happen unto us will fall out] rather unto the furtherance of the gospel!” Lord willing, in 2012, we hope to “continue fighting the good fight of faith…” no matter what else it may cost us (1 Timothy 6:12).

HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM arC MINISTRIES!

No Thanks, God! #1

Monday, December 26, 2011

“Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?” (Romans 2:4 KJV).

As the Christmas Season wanes, unwanted gifts that cannot be refunded are being discarded. Imagine all the time, money, and energy spent purchasing those gifts for their ungrateful recipients. There is a worse tragedy! We, sinful humanity, deserve coal, the riches of God’s wrath (Romans 2:5,6,8,9); thankfully, we have been given the riches of God’s grace (Ephesians 1:7). Predictably, there are unappreciative individuals who have already eagerly tossed out something worth far more than material possessions—God’s grace.

A noted outspoken atheist, who recently “met his Maker,” described prayer as “meaningless.” During his last year alive, even while cancer-stricken, he had a hardened heart toward God. As far as I know, he died without Jesus Christ. That man, like billions of others before, beheld God’s grace, and haughtily declared, “No thanks! I do not need You, God!” Today’s Scripture describes the attitude of most people: “[They] despise [hate!] the riches of [God’s] goodness and forbearance and longsuffering.” Jesus Christ’s sacrifice for them and God’s love and grace are worthless to them.

In Israel’s program under the Mosaic Law, God utterly destroyed such people. But, for nearly 2,000 years, God’s wrath has been in abeyance. Today, in our Dispensation of Grace, God is “not imputing the world’s trespasses unto it” (2 Corinthians 5:18,19). That will change…

Once our dispensation (time period) expires, during Daniel’s 70th week, the seven-year Tribulation, God will righteously judge this rebellious world in His wrath (Psalm 2:1-5; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-4; et al.). God will finally retaliate and take vengeance (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9). The antichrist will deceive those who received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness (2 Thessalonians 2:10-12).

Do not toss away the gift of God’s grace and salvation through Jesus Christ. Accept that gift by faith and escape that wrath to come!